Sunday, April 28, 2013

Enjo Kosai (援助交際): Japanese High School Prostitutes

In an earlier post about the documentary Girl Model (2012) and in The Allure of Nymphets, I wrote about how, like the French and the Spanish, yet unlike North Americans and the British,  the Japanese are open about their attraction to nymphets or what it is referred to in Japan as Lolicon (ロリコン) (i.e. Lolita complex). However, in the post and in the book, I only touched the tip of the iceberg on the Japanese's allure of nymphets.

A 1997 New York Times article titled "Schoolgirls as Sex Toys" related:

In Tokyo there are now several hundred ''image clubs,'' where Japanese men pay $150 an hour to act out their fantasies with make-believe schoolgirls in make-believe classrooms, locker rooms or commuter trains. A customer may, for example, act the part of a teacher who walks into a classroom and tears the clothes off a schoolgirl. Or he may choose to fondle a schoolgirl on a crowded commuter train.

But Japanese men are not restricted to "make-believe schoolgirls". Like in Spain, the age-of-consent in Japan is 13; consequently, there are a number of Japanese prostitutes who are high school students by day, which is a practice that is referred to as enjo kosai (援助交際) in Japan.
For example, a 1996 Wall Street Journal article titled "Japan's New Growth Industry: Schoolgirl Prostitution" related:

Aya, now 15, says she started letting men touch her breasts two years ago for $100. Last October, she says she turned her first trick, with a man who approached her and a girlfriend on a Tokyo street and paid them about $500 apiece to have sex with him. She began commuting regularly from her suburban home to ply her body, lured by the cash that she spent on restaurants, miniskirts and trips to Tokyo Disneyland [...] Japanese teenagers have expensive tastes—$500 Prada purses and $350 Louis Vuitton wallets are hot teen items.

In a Newsweek article titled "Japan's Dirty Secret: Schoolgirls Selling Sex" the deputy director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police juvenile division said, “It has to do with a longing for material things. It’s not that they come from poor families who need to support themselves. They just want to have more and more.”

Aya is part of what Japanese police are starting to call an epidemic: prostitution by schoolgirls. Police say they picked up 5,481 girls under 18 in Japan for prostitution and related activities last year, 38% more than two years earlier.

Shinji Miyadai, a sociologist at Tokyo Metropolitan University, estimates that 8% of schoolgirls nationwide—and one-third of girls at some schools that aren't geared toward the college-bound—are involved in the sex industry. 

Teen prostitution is particularly rife in Tokyo, where it is legal for adults to have sex with children over 12 and where prostitution isn't punishable unless arranged by a pimp. Tokyo police grumble that when they spot an older man and a young girl emerging from ubiquitous "love hotels," which rent rooms by the hour, all they can do is take names and ages and notify the girl's parents.

Don't be a feminist and blame the Japanese high school prostitute epidemic on "dirty old men". It's a two-way street. The high school prostitutes can be very aggressive in their pursuit of middle-aged johns. For example, the Wall Street Journal article further related :

Melon Club.. features a tiny one-way mirror looking in on a main room where girls looks like a slumber party: Six girls lounge on sofas, playing video games, putting on lipstick and reading comics...Splayed on the floor are the girls' Prada and Fendi bags.

Girls drift into the club and wait to be chosen by customers who pay $100, $50 of which goes to the girl, then go on a one-hour "date." Many girls say they give out their portable phone numbers and begin freelancing.One, who gives her name as Miki, says she can earn $150 to $200 a day at the club, whereas she would earn only $7 an hour dishing out ice cream.

Keiko S., 16, began calling a telephone club in elementary school. Now, she earns $800 to $1,000 a month from Melon and her freelancing. She has gone out with about 50 men who range in age from 20 to 60.

Now some girls bypass the clubs entirely, posting their cellular-phone and beeper numbers along Tokyo streets. Juvenile-police director Mr. Nishida, 58, says he has been solicited by schoolgirls while walking Tokyo's streets in plain clothes. Shopping arcades have begun posting signs ordering, "Do not write your phone or beeper number."

According to the article, it turns out that the high school prostitutes don't consider what they do to be prostitution:

The girls call their customers "Papasan" and don't speak of prostitution—to them it is just enjo kosai, or financially supported dating. Akiyoshi Ishibashi, a police psychologist in Tokyo, says half of the 400 teenage prostitutes he and other Tokyo psychologists have counseled extensively—most from middle-class families with two parents—don't feel prostitution is wrong.

Lolicon (ロリコン) and enjo kosai (援助交際) aren't kept secret in Japan. They're portrayed on mainstream television shows, movies, and anime. 

BBC Sex in Japan clip on Enjo Kosai 

For example, here's the plot summary for the Japanese movie series Stop the Bitch Campaign:

In Tokyo, prostitution in the name of "Enjo Kosai" is in fashion among some high school girls. A mysterious man, Kuni, laments such girls, but cannot deny a strong desire for them. He punishes the girls by having sex with them without paying. He calls this operation "Stop the Bitch Campaign" for public justice.

JT Brown shared this information in an article he wrote on Hackwriter about enjo kosai:

Internet match-making services exist in many countries. But they don’t quite shape up like this one [Japan]. Read the following quotations and facts found in a English language report on virtual dating sites, compiled and written this year by Japan’s National Police Agency.

Some typical messages posted in solicitation of sex: 

"Will pay 50,000 yen maximum for Enjo Kosai."
"Awaiting messages from high school girls short in pocket money."

"Send me a mail if you can meet me Sunday for 30,000 yen."
"Buy my virginity. I’m an innocent 15 year old."
"I want to try real sex! I’m bored with playing with myself. Somebody with lots of money please make me feel good."

Some facts found in the report:

"93.8% cases of which the solicitation method is known, were initiated by female child."
"97 percent of cases with child prostitutes now involve cell phone dating services."
"83.1% of high school students, 23.1% of junior high own cellular phones"

It's clear what the current laws are in Japan concerning enjo kosai. There has been some legislation introduced concerning The Child Prostitution and Pornography Act and the Child Welfare Law, but I've read conflicting reports from a number of different sources. But JT Brown wrote that, "...enforcement of the laws on the books by Japan’s finest has always been a joke anyway."

I related in The Allure of Nymphets about pre-teen prostitutes in the United States prior to the change in the age-of-consent laws. And the subsequent rise in the number of teen prostitutes after the age-of-consent was raised. Here's an excerpt :

To give an example of how raunchy things got, Odem [author of Delinquent Daughters] related that during World War I, when the problem of female sexual delinquency assumed national proportions...a five-mile radius moral zone was implemented around military training camps. In those moral zones, alcohol and prostitution were prohibited. Surprisingly, the military discovered that it was not professional prostitutes who were loitering around military bases - it was teenage girls. Over the course of the war, approximately 30,000 young girls were apprehended for illicit activity, prostitution and suspicion of spreading venereal diseases.

You may not see many teen prostitutes openly on the streets in the United States anymore; however, you'll find a plethora of virtual teen prostitutes on the Internet where they'll do just about anything under the sun for virtual "tokens" or for attention. 

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